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tv   Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  March 14, 2012 1:00am-5:59am EDT

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use week or do anything else. -- purchase or use wheat pit said that if you are that kind of commercial former, you cannot grow more than a certain amount of wheat. i think it is a problematic decision in various ways but it is not analogous to the individual mandate case. was limited to actual commercial enterprises which are engaged in economic activity. a more analogous case would be to say if you are not a farmer, was limited to actual commercial enterprises which are engaged in economic activity. a more analogous case would be to say if you are not a farmer, you are required to grow wheat or perhaps for car to go out and purchased wheat from people who are course. i would like to talk about the tax argument to which andrew devoted the bulk of his remarks. i would like to start off by saying it is not the case that his has been neglected in the lower courts, as he suggested.
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rather, every single court should have considered this issue and has done so in great detail. the government -- 15 out of 16 judges who have considered it have rejected it because they have all ruled it is a penalty and not a tax. there is a good reason for that. if you accept andrews argument that anything that raises revenue and promotes the general welfare, an extremely broad definition of the general welfare, than any fine of any kind is going to be a tax, a fine for jaywalking, for not buying broccoli, are pretty much anything else. the court has consistently distinguished between taxes and penalties, and this measure clearly falls on the penalty side of the line. he says the court said it does not matter congress specifically says it is a tax or not, that may be true in cases where congress simply has not been clear on whether it it is a tax
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or not. in this instance, however, but congress and the president, who is also part of the legislative process here, he has the veto power, they repeatedly went out of their way to say this is not a tax, and the cannot have their cake and eat it. if you on top of it say it is not at tax, you cannot then turn around and say it is a tax. the defenders of the mandate say if there is political accountability, that undermines -- they are allowed to pretend is not a tax. often it is not the way the legislative process works. there is a tremendous inertia to it. it is very hard to repeal or alter a major statute after the fact. if we are going to have political accountability, a lot of it has come before hand, not afterwards. i think it is also important to
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recognize that by this logic under the tax clause and under the commerce clause and necessary and proper clause, you would get virtually unlimited congressional power, and that currently does make hash out of the constitution. it makes most of congress's other authorities completely redundant, and none of this is actually required by even the broadest reference that the court has adopted so far. i want to say a point about the activity versus inactivity distinction. that distinction was not invented by us, the people who want the statute struck down. rather it that distinction is found in numerous supreme court decisions for the have defined congress's power in terms of activities. andrew has said well, congress has debated activity with fannie mae and other regulatory agencies, but that is not congress using the commerce
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power to compare -- repel or -- compel people in the private sector. to the extent it is authorized by the constitution, it would be a whole different set of arguments and some cases a different set of clauses, once we are talking about here. the tax -- in the original meaning of the constitution, the court should not extend its president and congress virtually unlimited power to impose mandates of any kind. thank you. >> i will try to be short so we can have as many questions as possible. clearly the mandate is the boogeyman here. i did not hear in response to the idea that the states do have the power to do this.
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it is lot that we are so afraid of something -- it is a little odd that we are so afraid of something that every state can do, and when we are within the federal government's spiro power, and this is interstate commerce health care, why cannot be done. i think that argument is a little bit of a red herring, especially in the tax context. the parameters i went through about the taxing power are not my argument. they are the supreme court standard. the taxing power is incredibly broad, and with all deference to the lower court judges, when the benefits of being a supreme court advocate is to get to see many cases where the supreme court looks at an issue and says even if 11 of the 12th circuit's are on one side of it, we think they are all wrong, and we will go with the one court we think got it right. i think it is especially important to point out, it is
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not a question of power. none of those decisions turn on the idea that congress could not do this under the taxing power. as judge cavanagh wrote in his opinion based on the injunction act, that the statute was not written quite right. it was a distinction, the fact that the mandate was not conditioned -- the people were not given an option of either buying health insurance or paying the tax. if the provision had been written exclusively that way, he would have had no trouble of holding as a tax. in terms of power, putting aside what this particular statute does, there is no really serious argument that this cannot be done as a taxing power. the only argument is that maybe because of some details in this case, it was not done quite right. i think that is wrong for the reasons i explained about the new york decision. it is wrong to characterize this as a penalty could what makes something a penalty?
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the court has said something is a penalty when it has the indicia of a criminal act. none of those things are present here. i think it is quite clear that if this had been written conditionally, it almost surly would have been upheld as a tax. we are dealing with the technical drafting question and not a question of power on the taxing side. on the commerce clause side, i don't think this case is that different from wickard. judge silberman -- the question was whether the farmer could grow some extra week just for his own use. it was not going to leave the form -- the former could grow some extra wheat just for his own use. that was wheat that was not going to enter commerce. one of the arguments from the
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other side is that congress cannot regulate 3com per se activity. the case was the total answer to that. could congress had prohibited -- require him to grow some wheat in the first place, or could he disputed the statute on the grounds that it did that? that is just a week characterization of the same argument. justice jackson said even if we assume that the wheat was never marketed, it would otherwise be reflected by purchases in the open market. the stimulation of commerce -- that ties perfectly into what the issue is here, which is insurance is different from other kinds of requirements, whether it be broccoli, cards,
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etc., because insurance and how one is going to pay for an activity in which one is certainly going to engage, if the conduct that is being regulated here, and as the judge said in a passage read earlier, that participation in and out i am going to pay for it market is happening right now. some people are making self insurance choices. question is can congress regulate the time in which people make that choice one way or the other, or at least provide a financial incentive to get insurance earlier. that is exactly what has happened here. i do think the inactivity- activity distinction really does not hold up in the court cases at all, but the court really does not have to go that far. the unique characteristic of insurance and health care in terms of the fact that everyone is going to pay for it, and
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because of the laws requiring that health care be provided to those who cannot afford it, they are definitely going to be a burden on other taxpayers. that is something that congress can deal with now. >> tremendous, thank you so much. now we are going to take the opportunity to take questions, either from folks here horror from those who have submitted questions -- it from folks here or from those who have submitted questions on the internet. if anybody has a question, please raise your hand and you will be provided a microphone. tell us who you are and who your question is directed to, and we will also to questions from the internet. >> i have two questions.
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do you think that in deciding this case, the justices will have to get into question the government about why congress felt it necessary to do certain things? for example, frequently the figure of $30 million or the costs of care from the individual mandate, people not paying their bills -- do you think in the [unintelligible] are going to have to get into [unintelligible] is this necessary as we create this mandate?
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there is a legal question here, but inevitably there is policy beneath that, and it seems at some point they have to confront that policy. -- does it matter? how does it matter -- how much does it matter? there was a pre-existing regulatory scheme that congress was trying with force. in this case, even though there was some federal regulation of health care before, this new law creates a huge expansive regulatory scheme for the first time. >> i am happy to take a shot. i think turning to your first question, the questions of the underlying policy and a justification for it may well come up.
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the have been extensively laid out in the briefs. how much as the core going to look at that? in the spending course context, does this enactment promote the general welfare? we are not going to inquire too terribly much into that. that is an issue that is really almost entirely committed to congress. we will not drill down into the specifics of that in the way that the court does when there are statutes that burden individual rights like free speech. i would anticipate you will see that kind of interest, but in the end deference to whether or not there is a real problem in terms of free riders. i think it is unlikely the court was a decision will turn on some extensive examination of the evidence that concludes that is not an issue. i do think the fact this is part of a large regulatory scheme is relevant. one of the problems in some of the cases where the court has
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struck down enactments often because of the infringement of state authority or on states -- thinking about the violence against women act -- a lot of those were one off of regulations that did not really have much of a relationship to commerce. you could make the link their was a lot of steps in the link. here congress is really taking hold of a huge national problem and regulating in a comprehensive way, it is helpful to say this particular regulatory item as part of that very large scheme which relates to interstate commerce. >> regarding the policy issue, it is possible the court will get into some of that. i think they could rule our way without saying anything whether it is a good policy, whether it
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is necessary or not. our argument is this is unconstitutional, even if it is necessary in the offensive before convenient that the court is used to define necessity. even if it is necessary in that sense, it is not proper. there are lots of things that might be good or necessary policy measures that are still outside of the constitution. that is our argument. it is not that there are flaws and this is a policy matter. some have said, this is the only way to have the effect of health reform or cover pre- existing conditions. that is not true. i think there are other ways of doing it. i am not sure it actually matters. the court construct this down and it can do so without making any policy judgments at all.
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regarding gonzales -- yes it is true, it is all for the most part of a new one. because it is part of this broader scheme, that makes it different than a stand-alone statute of some kind. i think that argument does not hold water. given the existing scope of federal regulation, any man they can be defended on the ground that is related to some current legislation that was enacted. even something like the broccoli mandate, you can say there are lots of pre-existing regulations of the agriculture market or free market. there are all sorts of agricultural subsidies. you could fit a broccoli mandate or say a health care -- a health food purchase mandate within the same framework. a lot of the evidence suggests your diet has a bigger impact
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on your health and how much health care you consume even then whether or not you have health insurance. the health food man they can sometimes be justified on many of the same types of grounds as the government mandates on. >> terrific. >> thank you. i am curious, we talked a lot today about the fact -- [unintelligible] what kind of arguments we're going to hear. what do you think of both sides on that? >> first of all, i think it is possible for the court to say that if not a tax such that the injunction act eliminates its
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jurisdiction but can go on to uphold the measure under the power, i think it is clear from the case that the statutory test is a much more technical one where the use of the word tax may be much more determinative. also, there are some other questions about the statute which is the extent of the states have that standing, they are subject to the act. there is an older case called south carolina versus reagan. in order to reach a constitutional challenge by the states, that case involved a municipal bonds, tax exemption of municipal bonds. the court found a way to say that the tax injunction act was not applicable. my own intuition is that the court is not going to conclude that it can address the merits here. i will give credit to walter for this thought. i think it is correct that if
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it were to do so, i think the next day there would be unanimously passed in both houses a statute exempting this statue from the injunction act and the case would be back in the court before he could finish reading the many lines of opinions that have been issued by the court the day before. i think in terms of reality, that is not going to be much of a barrier, even if the court to decide. >> largely agree with that, but i would know it is unusual to claim that the definition of a tax under the anti injunction act is actually narrower than a tax and to the constitution, the traditional view adopted by the lower courts including the only one that has said the anti injunction act is at least as broad as the constitutional definition and possibly broader. the whole point of the anti
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injunction act to -- the whole purpose was to make it hard for tax payers to challenge taxes that congress imposed under the constitution. it would be strange if there were with the category of taxes that congress's authorized and the faa does not cover. with that said -- aia doesn't cover. you have 26 states like this here as well, with them it is a different issue to whether they have standing or not. one lower court has ruled the state does not have standing. i think their view is not likely to prevail. i generally agree the most likely the court will reach their merits in this case, partly because that is actually the better legal argument. partly because the court recognizes both sides. that will probably way
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undermines as well. >> thank you. -- that will probably weigh under minds as well. >> if the mandate is up held, would that be an applied challenge. and somebody that pays for his health insurance does not have to worry about -- if they benefit from a social system like in great britain, will the ruling on its face preclude as it is applied to? >> i guess it depends. first of all, it depends on how the court reasons the decision striking down the facial
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challenge or rejecting it. you could bring in as applied challenge. i think all the arguments that have been offered on behalf of the constitutionality of the man they would apply to as applied challenge as well as challenges. i think it is unlikely such a challenge could succeed if the mandate is upheld, even f. technically speaking the court said it only applies to these challenges. >> think that is an area where putting aside the over all dispute about the necessary and proper clause, if congress could reach the vast majority -- the overwhelming majority of people in this clause, i think you could make a strong argument that covering everybody is necessary and proper just in terms of providing a clear rule in the very important area of interstate commerce.
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>> have you expect there will be an opinion for each of these three cases? the u.s.-backed there will be two opinions, one that deals with the medicare issue and one that dealt with the other two cases? >> my guess is there will be one opinion in all of the cases. one opinion for all of the cases that will be written that could well -- i think even -- i cannot remember how the case was written. i would think there will probably be one opinion that will deal with everything -- one set of opinions. i do not think there will be one opinion for nine justices.
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a it could well be one big opinion divided into three or more sections. or it could be separate opinions to. it is possible there will be different majorities in different cases. i think the opinion will be lying in details and it will not be written like the kind of opinion that says this is an easy question we can easily dispensed with based on precedent even the when we started down this road one year and a half ago, has many defenders said this is an easy case and only weird extremists or people ignorant of constitutional law could think this is unconstitutional. i think the other reason we are likely to get a long opinion is that the justices -- many of them will recognize this is actually a very important power. it goes beyond the existing precedents. i do not think there will be swayed into believing it is an important because the states can do the same thing because the court has said repeatedly
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that when you have states doing things, there is competition between them. if the state enacts an onerous mandates like massachusetts has, people and businesses have the option of >> sitting. if you have a mandate or any policy that affects the entire country, the danger is greater because it is true. you can expatriate yourself. exiting the country is a much tougher proposition for many reasons than leaving a state. i could go into the history of onerous state mandates such as many decades of state mandates where states actually force people to engage in forced labor and the like, i think despite my desire to go into the history of federalism, i will leave it there. i could go on for a long time if i did not resist temptation here. >> thank you so much. on the question of whether it is a serious challenge, we know the answer to that. the court has given six hours of oral argument over the course
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of three days. that is essentially in the modern era, unprecedented. those who were dismissive of this question in the early days were wrong. what will happen, we will have to see. the justices are giving an unbelievably detailed attention. if they did not think there was a serious question to be resolved here, they would have had an hour of oral argument can be done with it. tea was so much to the people who are here. thank you to the washington legal foundation for hosting this event. thank you to c-span for covering it. we all look forward to further reporting on the oral arguments in the decision. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
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>> former national security advisor stephen hadley and zbigniew brzezinski on u.s. policy in the middle east. in about an hour-and-a-half, it is a republican presidential candidate rick santorum and newt gingrich. then we will repair the preview of the legal arguments to the supreme court is likely to hear later this month when it considers the constitutionality of the health-care law. >> tomorrow, jennifer dufty talks about key senate races this election year and held a presidential election could affect those races. then joshua gordon of the concord coalition and the latest projections of federal spending and how they could impact future policy decisions. after that, stephen flanagan of the center for strategic and international studies looks at talks between president obama and british prime minister david
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cameron, including the future of afghanistan and the nato alliance. plus your e-mail, phone call that week. "washington journal," live wednesday at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> i hope that as we move forward in this world, there are a number of problems that we have to resolve, problems of genocide, problems with growing people's republic of china, a growing problem with iran. we have a lot of problems to deal with, and i think diplomatic solutions are going to have to be answered in the future as we start to deal with the problems coming. >> congressman donald payne, who passed away this past week, was the first african-american to serve in the u.s. house from new jersey. he was a former head of the black congressional caucus and served on house committees on education and foreign affairs. watch his speeches from the
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house floor and other c-span appearances, online at the c- span video library. >> next, a forum on u.s. policy in the middle east with former national security advisor stephen hadley and zbigniew brzezinski. from the university of maryland, this is just over an hour and a half. >> we rehearsed it several times and we still got it wrong. by name is john townsend and it is my great pleasure to welcome you to another forum. it is a special honor to host
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two giants of american foreign policy on our campus. dr. zbigniew brzezinski, former national security advisor to jimmy carter, and mr. stephen hadley, advisor to george w. bush. thank you, gentlemen, very much for joining us today. we really do appreciate it. [applause] >> this forum could not be more timely. i almost could say unfortunately could not be more timely. the u.s. is facing enormous challenges in the middle east. the violence in syria, the butchery in syria, has left many wondering what america and the international community should do to end the bloodshed. the challenges posed by iran's nuclear program have many talking about the prospects of war. let us all hope that does not
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happen. our guests today are especially suited for it shedding light in the rapidly changing political environment of the middle east. the forum which was sponsored by -- is organized by -- there is deep and cutting edge academic research that includes years of public opinion polls in the arab and israeli world as well as in the united states. that program is releasing results of a new public opinion poll about american public attitudes toward possible war with iran, the results of which are available to you outside this hall. to introduce our esteemed guest, i would like to present our own fellow and friend, dr. sababsad.
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[applause] he has been a tireless advocate ,f peace and women's rights ever since her husband of the late on morrison got -- her late husband, anwar sadat. as the egyptian revolution continues to unfold, hers has been a steady and insightful voice that we have continued to hear, including here at the university last spring. university of maryland and the college of behavioral sciences have been really honored to count her as one of us. it is my pleasure to present mississippi sadat to you. -- to present mrs. sadat to you. [applause]
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>> thank you very much. and you for your kind words and your support. ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to introduce our honorable panelists of this event forum. before i do so, i would like to set a few words about the arab awakening that has been sweeping much of the arab world, especially egypt. i want to welcome our ambassador who is here today. egypt is of course going
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through challenging times. both economically and politically, as it transitions to democracy. i know that our panelists will discuss some of these challenges, but i want to make a few comments. despite the enormous difficulty , i remain optimistic about the future of egypt, and in the greatness of our people. witnessed the remarkable changes that have already taken place in just over one year, i think much has been accomplished, though much more needs to be done. from the outside, transition seems frustrating, but what egypt needs is patience, understanding, and as basic
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other rich inevitable transformation. article need to do their part. one of the most difficult challenges of revolutionary changes is how to assess and come to terms with the past. there must be an accounting of previous injustices', of the suffering of what happened to innocent people. healing starts only would such accounting. but to move forward, to build a better future, to come together as a great nation, we need to find it in our hearts to forgive, to invite all egyptians to be part of all or brighter future. my late husband found it in his heart to overcome the bitterness and enmity of war and
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destruction, and forgiveness and reconciliation is what made our friend, president mandela, great. egypt has many great men and women who want to help move our nation forward. allow me to introduce our outstanding panelists. i will not review their extraordinary biographies, as that would take all of and the afternoon. i know that they are well known to all of you. i would just say a few words. zbigniew brzezinski is a dear friend whom i had met early during his tenure as national security adviser to president carter as he visited egypt. he was the central architect of
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the camp david accords between israel and egypt. i know that president sadat admired his dedication. since the days of dr. brzezinski served as a professor at harvard and columbia universities, he has served in much different capacity. he is currently a counselor and trust the of the center for strategic and international studies and professor of american foreign policy at the school of advanced international studies, johns hopkins university. he has thankfully never stopped writing and commenting on international and national affairs. his newest book, strategic vision, just released in the past few weeks, and available for purchase outside this fall,
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has deserved -- hasn't been a best-seller. he is without -- has been a best-seller. he is without a doubt one of the bess strategic thinkers on global affairs of our time. it is an honor to have you here. [applause] the honorable stephen hadley and never stop serving the united states. it is hard to find anyone in washington, republican or democrat, who does not respect mr. hadley. it is known for his thoughtfulness, his openness, differing views, his consensus building style, and his deep knowledge. that is why american leaders
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have trusted him with some of the highest positions of the land, including as national security adviser to president george w. bush. he has served in multiple administration's, both republican and democratic, including with dr. brzezinski in the carter white house. currently, mr. hadley is a founding partner of the wright- hadley group. he continues to serve his country and cochairs of bipartisan working group of the united states institute of peace, addressing american policy in the middle east. he is an extraordinary american. steve, thank you for taking the time to join us to date. [applause] -- to join us today.
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finally, the panel will be moderated by our professor, the holder a anwar sadat chair for peace and humanity. i think you are in for an intellectual treat, ladies and gentlemen. thank you for attending. [applause] >> thank you very much. dr. brzezinski, mr. hadley, it is my pleasure to host in my home institution. i usually see you in washington and all these other places. i know that for some of you, this may be the first time to come to maryland, so welcome. we really appreciate you taking the time to join us. i will go ahead and start asking
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questions, but i want to explain why you are surrounded by such beautiful art. dr. brzezinski, being married to a wonderful artist yourself, you appreciate that a little bit. we have a sculpture and painting. these are products of an annual competition have which is called the sadat art for piece program. these are the winners from the 2011 competition. the best winter for sculpture is jesse barros for that year warned which is intended to represent hearing the voices of the people in the arab awakening. congratulations to the winners.
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want to congratulate them, i am not sure if they are with us. [applause] i will go right to the questions and start with you, dr. brzezinski. not surprisingly, i will start with egypt. egypt is not only an important country in the middle east, but there are a lot of central issues pertaining to american choices in relation to egypt. before i ask you about what we should be doing now, particularly with the crisis that came out of the ngo issue, when the egyptian judiciary took action against an ngo including americans, that created a political crisis. i want to look a little bit before the revolution. i know you have been a key player in mediating the camp
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david accords between egypt and israel at camp david, maryland. when you look at american foreign policy over the past several decades, it really has been anchored around a particular relationship with egypt and israel. you can call it a triangular relationship. that has clearly got a lot of what the u.s. thus in the middle east and the relationship that was in some ways taken for granted in ordering american political choice in the middle east. there were people even before the revolution who were saying that relationship has run its course even before mubarak was removed, that egypt wanted to take its own path to become independent, to regain the leadership role in the arab world. it succeeded to do that in the 1990's, but in the past decade,
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there was less benefit, it was more marginalized. egyptians were uncomfortable with the narrow set of choices even before the revolution. this is now obviously coming to the forefront, in part because the country has unraveled as we have known it. i wonder with your thoughts on this, knowing that you have considered the strategic picture during the cold war, in which the peace treaty between egypt and israel emerged and the new relationship between the nine states and israel was the fine. is this an accurate picture that this relationship was running its course even before the revolution? >> thank you very much for having me here. i am delighted to be here. i want to begin simply by reiterating my highest respect both for the late president
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sadat and mrs. sadat. knowing them many years ago was a source of inspiration and confidence. he was endowed with remarkable intelligence and great strategic baldness. i have to say i particularly admired his boldness -- great strategic baldness. it manifest itself in relationship to the two greatest issues that are involved in great strategic choices. it pertained to war and to peace. both of these, it took enormously difficult decisions. and he gained a strategic benefits for himself but more importantly for his country. it was a privilege to know him,
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and i know that mrs. sadat was a close partner, a person who partook of these decisions, and in that respect, she represents today also the greatness that president sadat conveyed to us, namely the cold war strategic boldness. turning to your question, at this stage, you asked me about the american-egyptian relationship, i would not be advocating strategic votes at this point because everything has to come in its right moment. i think mrs. sadat in her brief comments used to words which in my judgment, calculate what is needed. the two words were patience and space do we have to give egypt space to define itself at a time
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of considerable political turmoil and uncertainty. and therefore, also patients. we have to wait until that works itself out, but having said that, i think it is absolutely essential that we do what we can to preserve the close, strategic relationship with egypt, because egypt is the major player in the region. a good american-egyptian relationship is one of the key foundations of a meaningful american policy for the region. we have that relationship, we can also move on other issues. one of the issues in which we try to move forward together with egypt, and we did not get as far as we had hoped, and subsequently we even stalled is the question of the israeli-
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palestinian reconciliation and peace. there is not going to be real peace without that in the middle east. worse than that, in absence of that, other nations tend to become increasingly dangerous. right now, our relationship with egypt is important because we could be on the brink, if we make mistakes, if we are overly cautious, if we are not prepared to assert american national interest openly, we could be facing the conjunction of several significant conflicts in the area, in addition to the one i have already mentioned, which cries for resolution and which will never be resolved without american involvement. there is some conflict with iran. if that should take place, it is almost inevitable that our current difficulties in afghanistan will get greater,
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that iraq will become more unstable and that these unstable conditions would merge and intensify the ongoing difficulties in syria. would it have a situation in which we confront a series of interacting crises in the region. that emphasizes the need for a broadly conceived and energetically undertaken american strategy in which among the key players with whom we have to be engaged, in addition to the american-israeli connection is america egypt, america turkey, america saudi arabia. >> when you endorse what mrs. sababa said about patients and space, who does our political system really ever have patience? can it allow space? you have the ngo crisis, which
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on the big scale of things does not seem to be a huge crisis, although it is important for those involved. and you have people calling for cutting off economic aid to egypt. you have the muslim brotherhood doing well in elections and that made a lot of people uncomfortable. what does it take to have that patient? >> we better have that patients, first of all. if we did i have a, we will be faced with other things which will not be very comfortable for us. i have mentioned some of them. so we have to be patient, but we have to have a vision for the region. i am afraid we no longer have a strategic vision for the region, and worse, we are gradually being pushed out of the region. or maybe we are drifting out of the region. i remember when i went into the u.s. government, we had good
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relations with the four most important countries in the region. look at those for today. one is still pretty good, they are having some tensions. one is terribly bad. one involves some disappointment, and one involves a great deal of uncertainty. you can all make the connections as to which one is which. it is not very promising picture. >> i want to come back to the strategic picture later, but i want to stay with egypt first. i want to go to mr. hadley. there is really a different set of choices for american policy in general and a place like egypt. you were part of the administration that advocated democracy after the iraq war and highlighted it and made it a priority in talking to the egyptian government and other governments in the arab world. until the arab awakening, not much change in the arab world. i always wondered whether in
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some ways, america is the best agent to create change, and whether in fact we are capable of doing it. thinking then and now about the role of the military and intelligence, wearing beige in a war in iran. we have military forces in the gulf. we have the arab-israeli issue that is essential in terms of national interest. every time would push in one direction, we still have to consolidate all these relationships with the very institutions that work anchoring the regime that was not democratic. is that something that is inherent in american foreign policy? how did you manage it when you were in the white house, and with a set of choices we now face, do they correspond or parallel in some ways?
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>> the point is, what is happening strategically in this region is in transition. it is in transition from authoritarian to a democratic and freer society. some societies are going through that transition post revolution. hopefully some of them will go up through that transition without a revolution in terms of some of the monarchies and the like. and america impose it militarily? no, of course not. can we imposed on other countries? nope. freedom and democracy is always going to reflect the particular cultural and historical character of the society. what we can do is make it clear that we stand on the side of those who won greater freedom and democracy and who want to take control of the future of
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their country. we were in the middle east -- that was a difficult role for us because for decades, we were perceived, rightly, as being on the side and supporting authoritarian regimes, the very rich teams that people in the name of freedom are rising up against. and it makes us an odd messenger for freedom and democracy, but it is what we have historically stood for as a country for 200 years. everywhere we have ever bought has been in the name of freedom of democracy. notwithstanding that history, something that president bush talked about as a historical mistake, we have been on the side of freedom and democracy, and i think it still matters. i talked to a couple of unpeople who were part of the tunisian revolution and they told a very interesting story. they said over revolution was
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stalled because the middle class was on the sidelines. they would not join in the demonstration. many said it all changed with wikileaks. i am not a great fan of wikileaks, so i was a little taken aback. they said wikileaks lead to a whole series of cable from the american ambassador in tunis that made it clear that the americans viewed him as an aging autocrat, just like we did. then it became ok for the middle class to shift, to join the people in the streets, and the revolution was over in days. my point is by stanford freedman democracy and standing back and let people fight and win their own freedom, because at the end of the day, they have to, we can nonetheless encourage that process and help empower it.
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that is cut out and we need to do. >> i went to tunis right after the revolution. wikileaks actually did a service to the state department. the state department comes across as knowing more than people soon. the americans were not lying to themselves most of the time, about the people they are dealing with, and what more positive than negative, in my opinion. i want to put food on the spot on the current situation. related primarily to the role of the military, i was talking about the choices we faced when you win the one of, advocating democracy, having to stick to -- when you were in the white house. when you look at what is happening now, obviously the muslim brotherhood did very well in the parliamentary elections. we don't know who will be the next president of egypt, but i
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would submit to you that it will probably be the candidate that is backed by the muslim brotherhood, even if it is not one of them. those are uncomfortable things for americans to hear, even if they are elected democratically. on the other hand, you have the military which is seeming to want to exert itself and maintain power. when you look at what they are doing, they are essential because we cooperate with them on strategic issues day by day. you see what happened just yesterday in brokering a ceasefire between the palestinians and israeli, and that could have gotten out of control. it is mostly the military institution that has that plouffe relationship. those are tough choices for america to do, all the one hand, embraced, the existing petitions which are comparable working with. on the other hand, let go and allow results we don't like to take place. how do we deal with it?
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>> part of that is the patient and space that mrs. sababa talked about. there is a lot of apprehension about what is happening in places like egypt. she was sane when we are talking before, there are some positive things. other than the first days of this revolution, where unfortunately some real courageous people died, largely at the hands of the military, this has been largely peaceful revolution. secondly, they did conduct a free and fair election for the parliament, the first really free and fair election probably end millennia in the country. that is an important thing to say. yes, the muslim brotherhood won more votes than any other party. is that any surprise? president mubarak had a short- sighted policy of consciously
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oppressing in the centrist, democratic, secular parties. he made war on them all and created a situation where it was either the mubarak party or it was the brotherhood, which was the only used for expressing the sense. it is not a surprise to say it emerged as a champion of the revolution even though it was made by a lot of the younger men and women in the streets. there is a lot to be said for this revolution, for what it has done. i think we have to understand that if because the party has muslim or islamic in its name, you are not going to do with it, and we are going to take ourselves out of the game in most of these middle eastern countries. the issue is, can we work with these parties and can we encourage them to be what is the most important thing, which is, can we encourage them to be
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pluralistic in includes the parties that are committed over the long term to democracy? i think that is the challenge. i was on a panel about three weeks ago and heard something very interesting. the challenge in the middle east is that neither in political islam or in arab nationalism was there a tradition of pluralism. missing and that is what needs to be built. that is what we need to help these countries make these transitions. we need to try to help them with pluralism and inclusiveness, because that is the way you can
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be stable over the long term. good >> with all the challenges, egypt has gone well in the sense that it has not been a violent as many of the others. it has only been a year, so let me move to a country where there is a lot of violence -- stereo. -- syria. i know when you look at the arab awakening, they went remarkably well. they inspired a lot of americans. polls found that americans viewed a positive picture of getting over the 9-11 paradigm, and now we are going into a phase in some countries where
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there is a lot of violence. syria is very tragic, yet it is very hard to know what to do for american foreign policy. we have not been able to get the security council to act effectively. there is death end killing every day, and we do not seem to know what to do. i know you support and reluctantly the intervention in did i.e why is syria different from libya? >> syria is not live beyo -- is not libya. there was military opposition
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out of high-level talks with gaddafi. the regime was not fully institutional. special relations also contributed -- special arrangements with particular tribes contributed, and once those broke down, volvo things started to break down. it was easily excisable an -- now accessible. all of these differences underline a greater complex of three -- a greater complexity and what can be done on the outside. i do not favor an american military initiative in syria
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appear a good -- in syria. the notion of undertaking air strikes against a regime that is not dependent on air power is not going to be very affective, that ifre is a real risk asse america became more involved a conflict could assume anti- american resistance, even more generally in terms of islamic reception of america, and we have been involved in the war with iraq not too long ago, and i was against that war. we have had to be involved in afghanistan, but we have been involved for too long with
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overly ambitious objectives with consequences we are beginning to see surfacing, and i would not want to see added to that list another conflict in which america plays a preeminent role and relies on the military for its solution, because the general context of a decline of american influence in the middle east would further aggravate the trend, so what do i favor? i favor something you may view as a basin of responsibility, but i do not think that. it is taking -- you may view of responsibility, but i do not think that. syria is bordered by turkey and saudi arabia. they have resources, economic and financial. they have military resources.
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i would favor taking a clear position with the turks and saudis that if they decide on a course of action they think is needed for revolving this. problem, and particularly if the arab community is in agreement, if they decide to let the issue ester, that is a cruel decision, but i think we do not have much choice. a conflict in some regard is skills erotic -- conflict in syria is erratic. i think debt is stage america plunging ahead with military
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action in -- i think at this stage america plunging ahead with military action would be counterproductive and probably even destabilizing. >> your thoughts? >> i rihanna the description of the problem -- i agree with a description of the problem. a couple of factors lead me to a different prescription. the narrative and you want out of this and assyrian people he syrianard -- and te people want is that a free themselves. the way they do not want is a western powers freed them. one of the problems is the longer this goes, the more militarize it becomes, less
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likely it is to get a democratic outcome, because the future will be dictated not by who has the most votes but baidu has the most guns. i worry that the sectarianism is beginning to show itself in the conflict, and my worry is this quickly becomes sunnis versus shias, and i do not think that bodes well for what we need, which is a democratic outcome in which all groups can view themselves as part of a new stereo. -- syria. i have talked about doing two things. give one, we have got to help the.
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national congress -- the syrian national congress. we have got to help the opposition form into a unified political group second send a message there is a role for them in of post and-assad syria. the only reason he is still there is because the military supports him, and the business , and peoplet some commos him are worried about what life would be like under a sunni-led government. these groups need to be convinced to turn their back on assad, so there is a lot of political work to be done, and my instinct is to say to try to
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they knew on any friday several dozen of them would be killed during your this is an enormous courage -- would be killed. this is enormous courage, and we have to arm it in a smart way that does not encourage sectarianism and and hopefully build a political base for a solution, but if it is very difficult. >> how do you arm them? they are in turkey. you cannot do it without the turks. the only way we can do it is if the turks are prepared to take the lead, but the saudis can pay for aidit. >> i agree with that, and i
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think turkey is keep your gut -- is key. last sixrole over the months has changed dramatically. they are allowing thousands of refugees and is free army to be in their territory, so i think that is exactly right. gardner it has to be a regional approach. we need to be talking not only to the saudis and the turks but also with the iraqis, who have real interest in how this turns out, and it does not become a sectarian struggle, so we need to do this in conjunction with the neighbors and in a smart way with an agreement this is not going to be sunni versus shia.
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this is going to help the syrian people throw off a tyrant and establish a different kind of super guyria. >> may i ask a question about russia? one of the big failures was the inability to get a security council resolution on syria. russia has played an important role in supporting the regime. the russians came in reluctantly on that, and i am wondering whether arming may not lead to farming on the other side -- to arming on the other side. russia seems to be working directly with the arab league.
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they have reached an agreement. is there room for us to work with russia on syria? >> you have come to another which is will russia on the other side. if they are not sure or thinks lose, they will not. my guess is they are not convinced he will lose, and that raises a further question. the chinese are supporting them. we have to be careful not to mismanages this issue by thrusting ourselves ahead, to create an opposition that not
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only proved surprisingly effective within syria but becomes part of a larger context. that would be a major reversal of the changes of the last few decades. >> i am not foolish enough to talk a russia policy. i will say this. i think he is right about russia and their calculus. i think now that putin has won his election, in quotes, there may be more freedom in policy. we should not be bound by the un. the things we are talking about with turkey and iraq you can do without a u.n. resolution, and we should, and if we have a
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policy that is showing some success, i think the russians will come along, and once the russians come along, i think the chinese will come along, because i do not think the chinese want to be isolated, so i think we can accommodate it. >> i am going to move to the iran issue. one last question about syria, yria, butse of serious because everybody is much more moved by humanitarian disasters than we have been in the past. assad did a lot of killing in 1982, and we only learned about the scope of it afterwards. it was not a burning issue at that time.
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this is leading to certain kinds of the expectations on a scale we have not seen before, and i wondered, the arab awakening is a function of the revolution in a sense, whether or not this is also creating expectations of international behavior and that international politics have not changed enough to accommodate them, that the choices we have are more painful than usual. maybe that is an imaginary picture i am a painting. you have had many tough choices, but is there a sense there is this gap between public expectations and the fighter of international institutions to deal with them -- the failure of
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international institutions to deal with them? >> some of you probably saw there was a video put out on facebook about a week ago about this guy and the lord's resistance army, which is a gruesome group in the congo and other areas, and it is a bring the attention of the world and government to the problem is enormous, and that will make the national securities job -- national security adviser's job a lot harder, but on balance i think it is positive. i think you have seen social media is enormously and powering
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and democratic -- noempowering and democratic in the people have a voice. it can bring down structures, but it has become a tool. what we saw in egypt is the tool by itself is not sufficient to organize people in ways that can systematically replace the structures that have been brought down, and that is both the promise of social media but the limitations of the social media. at the end of today, it was about organization, and that is what the moslem brotherhood had , and others with the kids do not yet have -- that is what the kids do not yet have. >> i am going to move to the iran issue.
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there is talk of war in the air, and a lot of people are worried about similarities with the iraq war. president obama met with israel's prime minister netanyahu, who seemed to allude of israel is contemplating a unilateral strike on iran's nuclear facilities and that they think would set its program and back. good night u.s. has made it clear -- the u.s. has made it clear it does not want to see that happen and that it wants to give diplomacy a chance. i want to report year-end reserve report to you a poll but we just released an -- i want to report a poll we just released. we just released this here in the u.s., which is about
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american attitudes toward the iran nuclear regime but also the prospect of israel striking a round -- striking iran. we found 19% of is really supported an israeli strike on iran -- of israelis support of an israeli strike on iran without the support of the u.s. that coincides with a pulled from a few days ago. american opinion seems to be similar to israeli opinion. no one quarter of the american public supports of stray -- only one quarter of the american public supports those right richard -- supports a strike.
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only about a quarter say they want to see the u.s. intervene militarily. half one of the u.s. richard -- half want the u.s. to remain neutral on this issue. good when you ask, they believe it would not delay them by more than one to five years. they believe the conflict will last months or years, not days or weeks, which is almost parallel to the findings we had in israel, and so they are pessimistic. nine out of 10 americans think around will ultimately end up with nuclear-weapons, and the itnkle is 62% stak around -- think if iran obtains
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nuclear weapons it will use it against israel, which is paradoxical. can the u.s. avoid being drawn in? while the american public does not want the u.s. to intervene, a slight majority thinks the u.s. will intervene at any way, so there is a difference between what they describe and what they expect american behavior to be, at least diplomatically, so how much leverage do we have on israel in terms of this waiting it from attacking iran -- in terms of dissuading it from attacking iran?
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>> we have tremendous power. the question is if we would be willing to apply a. we have a moral obligation towards israel in view of what happened in world war ii, and that is a moral imperative, but it is also a fact we are a principal source of israel's military capability, and we are a significant source of financial support. we talked about egypt and whether we should put financial pressure on egypt. i think it is legitimate to arouse the same question regarding israel -- to ask the same question regarding israel, but it is highly unlikely they
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will apply maximum pressure. the israelis have indicated they will not give advance warning if they decide to strike. we will not be involved in their decision. if they do strike, they do not have the military capabilities to strike back. if they do, they will go over iraq. because the iranians have not respond effectively, but they
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will view of of having -- view us as having given the green light, it is likely they will respond. they could make the decision in western afghanistan increasingly difficult to us and complicated strategy. they can destabilize iraq relatively quickly. they can already affect the price of loyaoil. they can strike saudi oil fields or interfere with the shipment, which we could keep open, but there is no doubt it would affect energy dramatically, and there is a dramatic increase in the cost of insurance, and that
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is why americans are paying $4 a gallon. they will be paying $5 or $6 or $7 a gallon because of thundee israeli strike. the consequences will be adverse to us, so this is why it is important for president obama to try to dissuade the israelis from doing anything unilaterally and to give peace a chance with serious negotiations with iran. what does that mean? they mean you do not give the iranians the choice of humiliating capitulation or social economic strangulation.
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that is to say, for example, they are deprived of the rights of a nuclear program, or because they are not accommodating, we shut down the economy, which will have the effect of unifying extremist with nationalists and probably precipitate some reaction militarily, so we have to be very deliberate in our condo and try to use alliances we have close china -- in our conduct and try to use the alliance's we have and china and russia, because it has been stated by our president and military intelligence that the acquisition of nuclear weapons by iran is not something
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imminent but years away. the israelis have predicted since 1994 every single year the next year at around will have a nuclear weapon -- every single year the next year iran will have a nuclear weapon. it is now 2012. >> any thoughts on the same issue? >> what dr. brzezinski as outlined, we have said the place we do not want to be is where the only two choices are to accept an iran with a clear path to a nuclear weapon or try to use the nuclear option. we could have a debate, but both
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have negative consequences, so where are we? we are not in a good place. this is an issue between the united states and israel. president obama said the red line is around with a nuclear weapon -- is iran with a nuclear weapon. then it is too late. it is nuclear capability, a clear path to a nuclear weapon, and it is clearer the u.s. is not able to prevent it. once iran achieves that point, other countries wanting to have their own route to a nuclear weapon, a risk of nuclear capabilities, it is not a happy
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notion that you can deter by threatening is wrong. secondly, i am pessimistic on negotiations. this has always been about the enrichment program. you can have a truly peaceful nuclear program. because of the suspicions we have, even though you have a right to a program, we cannot prosecute because we do not believe you have given up nuclear weapons. we believe actually you are trying to get them, so the problem is this has always been about whether iran can have a nuclear enrichment program, and i do not know how you negotiate
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stock. i do not think this regime can give them a lot. -- give them up. maybe i am wrong. we ought to put as much pressure on the regime as weekend. i think they have agreed to restart negotiations, and maybe if the regime really feel survival is at stake they will accept a deal. i would offer to other things. as we put the pressure on the what are the iranian thing as they see gaddafi go
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down, home soleil assad -- hopefully assad goes down -- what do they see happening? will the iranian people decide they are entitled to something better. that is something to watch, and the last thing i would say is if we need to buy time, and there are things near diplomacy and conventional military action. there are things that can be done to set our programs and disabled programs, and i think the administration is putting all their effort into those kinds of activities so if we
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need to do it we can set back the program in a way that is not attributable to the united states and avoid some of the consequences outlined if you go into overly expensive military activity. my friend bob gates said, those kinds of things might buy you two or three years. one of the pilots who flew in iraq freetown's that the pilots got together and had two questions. one is if it was a two-way mission, and how long would it
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said by the nuclear program. a couple years, and their answer was fine. one thing led to another, and saddam hussein never archly got a nuclear weapon, so i think buying time in this process might be the best we can do, and that is what we ought to be working towards. >> there are microphones in the aisles, and you can pull up there to ask a question zeroth. on the iran issue, when i look the capacity is
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probably limited. there is talk of having missiles that can hit israel, and hezbollah said it is not automatic, but when i watched over the last few years days -- few days, rudimentary rockets are fired from across the -- from gaza, a paralyzed israel for a week with people sleeping underground. and the five weeks with hezbollah, a paralyzed the
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economy. maybe it is more than that. it is the capacity to inflect and not uncertainty -- who in slick -- to inflict uncertainty, and that has to be taken into account. >> you can have clear ideas about what might happen if you decide to have a war. you have an absolutely no idea how long it will take, and that is something we cannot lose sight of. iran might not be a threat, but if we take military action, we will create circumstances that will be increasingly unpredictable. it is not going to be by the
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international community. our friends will be feeling sorry for us. our rivals will be rubbing their hands and benefiting from it, so we have to strategically crossed the rubicon. are we prepared to go to war? the cost is too high, and there are other ways to cope with it. for the last years, japan and south korea have been threatened by north korean, yet neither korea is south regar clamoring there be an attack in north korea. why? they have now ironclad assertion the united states would react.
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for 30 years we did that with the european states, and we avoided a war with the soviet union. my personal view is if a negotiation is going to move in that direction, we issue an ironclad commitment to all of the states in the middle east that if they are threatened by iran, which is seeking nuclear weapons, and this applies to all of the states in the middle east and israel specifically, we will view it as requiring the kind of response we would make if we were attacked ourselves. i think that is far more credible and more of an umbrella and the notion that
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perhaps they will threaten someone, maybe not, and in the meantime we will have no choice to go in. if we are clear on this, i think the kind of statistics you cited regarding american public opinion, regarding israel public opinion, regarding the majority of jewish public opinion, would support such an outcome, and that is a better way of avoiding uncertainty. otherwise, i agree negotiations will have to address some very difficult problems, and it may not work, but if it does not work i do not think we should leave it open as to what might or might not happen. i think they are not crazy. they are not going to commit
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suicide. >> this is a very useful discussion to have. people will say that north korea is an insular regime. it has supported terrorism for almost a decade. iran is a very different regime in a different part of the world, and the second thing i worry about is i have no doubt the arrangements dr. brzezinski the scribe would deter iran with a nuclear weapon from attacking -- described would deter iran from a nuclear attack. feels it cannot be attacked and therefore is less vulnerable and will be more ambitious in its construction of
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the neighborhood, and i am worried some of the other states will not believe us and will want their own nuclear capability. i may be wrong. if something needs to be done about iran, i hope it is what i have talked about. give whatever needs to be done, i think it is going to beehave o be done by the united states. it is not fair to put this on the israelis, and one thing i liked about president obama's speech is he said iran is not just israel cost problem. he said it is the international community's problem. i think he is right, and we leave the international
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community, and on this important issue, -- we lead the international community, and on this important issue, the united states needs to lead. >> that sounds good, but if there is a war, we are going to be alone. the international community is not going to be joining that. they have survived 3000 years. that is not characterized by suicidal and zionism -- and suicidal messiahnism. i have dealt with them. they are complicated and manipulative and do not keep their promises, but they are smart and concerned about self interest. that is not the behavior of a country that is suicidal.
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to start a war are believe is suicide. good parts but is an interesting -- >> but as an interesting conversation. i want to talk about the palestinian conflict. it is back in a news. the egyptian military was panicking because out as the one thing they fear -- because that is the one thing they fear if there is so full of salt in, and there is no firewall. there has not been much of violence. there is our own election that has distracted people. it has led to be an -- lead people to think about is not important in foreign policy. you have dealt with the middle east for decades. let's start with you, mrdr. brzezinski.
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how important is the israeli- palestinian question? >> it is very important. it is overshadowed right now by other issues like iran and egypt, so it is not at the top of ohio, but it is an enduring problem -- up the top of the pile, but it is an enduring problem that ultimately will be a mortal threat to israel, because if that issue is not resolved in an equitable fashion, the chances of israel theming an integral part of , and if thedecline asses
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middle east is going to assert itself, if it becomes self contained and self-assertive, for israel is not very promising, so i think from a moral point of view this as an important time -- an important priority. i think the majority of israelis and palestinians are prepared for a settlement, but it will never happen without american initiative. >> to you agree? >> no one has worked harder to try to come up with ideas to try to make it work. i think for the near-term
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negotiations are not on. there is too much talk about iran. it seems the prime minister netanyahu wants negotiations without an outcome, and their politics do not permit it, so what do we do? the thing that is so important is what the palestinians have done over the last few years, which is to build a society under occupation with security forces taking responsibility and for the government responsibilities of a free state. there is economic progress on the west as saying. life is better. it is why the west bank has not turned to violence.
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i think it is important that be preserved, not just for the benefit of palestinians, but also to keep it quiet for israel, and i think what can be done -- israelis are talking to palestinians about how the process can continue, how a security is maintained so israelis can step back and quietly seek more territory for palestinian security presence and allow greater palestinian economic and activity on the west bank. but as the kind of thing, as jesse jackson would have said, keep hope alive, allows the palestinians to observe the progress they have made and avoid violence.
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i think that is the most we can do, but it is important to do. >> we only have time for a couple of questions, so please come to the microphone if you have questions. i just want to mention, dr. arzezinski's new book, brilliant new book -- he signed a couple of copies of side, and somebody will ask you about it, because in your description of distribution of power to asia and your prescription for an american resurgence has stabilized international borders but will allow us to deal with common issues for humanitarian and -- for a humanity. new interesting ways to judge the expansion of the west -- expand thetingly
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west to include russia and turkey. it is something i hope somebody will ask about and get to address. >> the short answer is part of turkey is in europe. >> let's start with a question during your >> thank you for the excellent -- let's start with a question. >> thank you for the excellent conversation. i am curious about the growing rift between ahmadinejad and the supreme leader and everything that is an obstacle or opportunity to negotiations. >> i am looking at your questionnaire, but perhaps the question that was not asked is to ask the american public if they believe negotiations will lead iran to its ambitions.
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>> i am pessimistic on the negotiations but think they need to be tried, but we have been at this for a while, and it goes to the question of ahmadinejad and the supreme leader. interestingly enough, we actually have an agreement negotiated with iran to expand -- to extend its agreement and ultimately disbanded it. ahmadinejad as ran under the idea of the those people were traders, and he wins and restarts the nuclear program, and we have been trying to get
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to the agreement ever since with no avail. ongoing negotiations seem to be supported by the supreme leader , and every time they seem to make progress, ahmadinejad would make a public speech, and it would all fall apart. now appears ahmadinejad might tonk it is in his interestin negotiate a deal and the supreme leader may be the problem. the problem is the supreme leader is calling the shots, and he is increasingly support of less by the old clerics and more by a new generation that are heavily in the forces that are in security services. that is not his base of support, and there really is a question
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of whether he is so in on this issue that he can give it up. i think the only way to test is to try to have negotiations, but i think we should not ease off on international pressure, because i think that is the only they have come to negotiations, and i think that is the only way you would get a deal acceptable to us if they thought survival was a state -- at stake, so i am pessimistic, but we will see. >> please introduce yourself. >> good afternoon to the three of you. you talk about the issue of trust or lack thereof with iranians, and you remind me of the former secretary of defense
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robert mcnamera, and one way of making your position very effective to emphasize with the enemy, you are aware of the the u.s. toppled iranian democracy .n the 50's they support another dictator later on. you invaded iraq shortly after calling them part of the axis of the vote. did you think empathy is a good isng, or do you think it playing with fire? if you could wind into the dynamics of negotiated between at camp david. you feel that given the current updates -- debate, if you had a
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democratically electable leaders, you would still be able to conclude the peace between israel and palestinians? >> probably not, because probably of motions would have complicated the process, so it took leaders from both sides to strike a deal. you have a point. the fact is the experience of the iranians in the '20s century we did a 20th-century in the west was not a pleasant -- the experience of the iranians and the 20th century was not that pleasant for them. we played a role but alienated a good portion of the politically
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active iranian public. this is not a case to justify it. i was engaged with an attempt your address the challenge, and my answer was to impose martial law when undertake broad reforms and concessions, but it was the other way around. but was not tried. those who argued made the argument explicitly that he was the gondi of iran, is something that has not been brought up by five, so we are at a dilemma. good -- brought up by fact, so
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we are in a dilemma. >> you can understand their narratives. the question is where you go with that when they are still supporting terror and threatening the state of israel. you have got to try to understand that. our negotiators have got to try but it cannotitsel, excuse behavior or allow you to give the past to behavior that threaten our interests. but i am going to take the last two questions. the time is tight, and we are going to have to make do with that. >> i am a second year government and politics major, and i am hoping to get your opinion of
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how optimistic you are and how an israeli or american attack on iran would affect their rising up given the sense of nationalism in the country. >> mr. hadley suggested for the next one or three years there would be no movement on the palestinian-is really issue, and you suggested you could preserve the status -- palestinian- israeli issue, and you suggested you could preserve the status. what could you do where a two- state solution is possible? the you believe -- you believe they are giving mr. netanyahu, a free pass? >> what ever you like to answer.
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take your pick. >> my concern about its slipping in time is that it is not a static arrangement. you can have political freedom on the west bank, and you can update the palestinian condition, but something else is happening, the construction of settlements triggered when the peace process started, there were 8000 israeli settlers on the west bank. that becomes increasingly difficult to deal with, so long for there is no process in peace, the greater difficulty achieving it. >> two thoughts. prime minister netanyahu is
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focused on iran because he believes it is a threat to israel, and you can understand that. there is an issue with several minutes. the bush administration had a solution that did not get adopted by president obama's administration. there is another issue, and i am very supportive, but there is an issue of whether any palestinian leader can accept this agreement. there have been very good offers made to president abbas, and both said no, so if you are an israeli, you are saying, is in the palestinian able to except an arrangement that is a compromise, or can they only accept something that is 120%.
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there is lack of trust on both sides, and there are reasons for that, and they are of burden on negotiations. in terms of iran, i am a freedom guy, but i think the iranians are a great people, and the idea that they are going to accept what the current regime offers when the region is calling for more freedom and democracy and people are taking responsibility for their own freedom, i think of some point freedom is going to come to iran, but it is going to be hard.
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[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] that is why american leaders have trusted him with some of the highest positions of the land, including as national security adviser to president george w. bush. he has served in multiple administration's, both republican and democratic, including with dr. brzezinski in the carter white house. currently, mr. hadley is a founding partner of the wright-hadley group. he continues to serve his country and co-chairs of bipartisan working group of the united states institute of peace, addressing american policy in the middle east. he is an extraordinary american.
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steve, thank you for taking the time to join us today. [applause] finally, the panel will be moderated by our professor, the holder a anwar sadat chair for peace and humanity. i think you are in for an intellectual treat, ladies and gentlemen. thank you for attending. [applause] >> thank you very much. dr. brzezinski, mr. hadley, it is my pleasure to host in my home institution.
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i usually see you in washington and all these other places. i know that for some of you, this may be the first time to come to maryland, so welcome. we really appreciate you taking the time to join us. i will go ahead and start asking questions, but i want to explain why you are surrounded by such beautiful art. dr. brzezinski, being married to a wonderful artist yourself, you appreciate that a little bit. we have a sculpture and painting. these are products of an annual competition have which is called the sadat art for piece program. these are the winners from the 2011 competition.
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the best winter for sculpture is jesse barros for that year warned which is intended to represent hearing the voices of the people in the arab awakening. congratulations to the winners. want to congratulate them, i am not sure if they are with us. [applause] i will go right to the questions and start with you, dr. brzezinski. not surprisingly, i will start with egypt.
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egypt is not only an important country in the middle east, but there are a lot of central issues pertaining to american choices in relation to egypt. before i ask you about what we should be doing now, particularly with the crisis that came out of the ngo issue, when the egyptian judiciary took action against an ngo including americans, that created a political crisis. i want to look a little bit before the revolution. i know you have been a key player in mediating the camp david accords between egypt and israel at camp david, maryland. when you look at american foreign policy over the past several decades, it really has been anchored around a particular relationship with egypt and israel. you can call it a triangular relationship. that has clearly got a lot of what the u.s. thus in the middle
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east and the relationship that was in some ways taken for granted in ordering american political choice in the middle east. there were people even before the revolution who were saying that relationship has run its course even before mubarak was removed, that egypt wanted to take its own path to become independent, to regain the leadership role in the arab world. it succeeded to do that in the 1990's, but in the past decade, there was less benefit, it was more marginalized. egyptians were uncomfortable with the narrow set of choices even before the revolution. this is now obviously coming to the forefront, in part because the country has unraveled as we have known it. i wonder with your thoughts on this, knowing that you have considered the strategic picture during the cold war, in which the peace treaty between egypt and israel emerged and the new relationship between the nine states and israel was the fine.
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is this an accurate picture that this relationship was running its course even before the revolution? >> thank you very much for having me here. i am delighted to be here. i want to begin simply by reiterating my highest respect both for the late president sadat and mrs. sadat. knowing them many years ago was a source of inspiration and confidence. he was endowed with remarkable intelligence and great strategic baldness. -- boldness. i have to say i particularly admire his great strategic boldness. it manifests itself in relationship to the two greatest issues that are involved in
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great strategic choices. it pertained to war and to peace. both of these, it took enormously difficult decisions. and he gained a strategic benefits for himself but more importantly for his country. it was a privilege to know him, and i know that mrs. sadat was a close partner, a person who partook of these decisions, and in that respect, she represents today also the greatness that president sadat conveyed to us, namely the cold war strategic boldness. turning to your question, at this stage, you asked me about the american-egyptian relationship, i would not be
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advocating strategic votes at this point because everything has to come in its right moment. i think mrs. sadat in her brief comments used to words which in my judgment, calculate what is needed. the two words were patience and space do we have to give egypt space to define itself at a time of considerable political turmoil and uncertainty. and therefore, also patience. we have to wait until that works itself out, but having said that, i think it is absolutely essential that we do what we can to preserve the close, strategic relationship with egypt, because egypt is the major player in the region. a good american-egyptian
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relationship is one of the key foundations of a meaningful american policy for the region. we have that relationship, we can also move on other issues. one of the issues in which we try to move forward together with egypt, and we did not get as far as we had hoped, and subsequently we even stalled is the question of the israeli-palestinian reconciliation and peace. there is not going to be real peace without that in the middle east. worse than that, in absence of that, other nations tend to become increasingly dangerous. right now, our relationship with egypt is important because we could be on the brink, if we make mistakes, if we are overly
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cautious, if we are not prepared to assert american national interest openly, we could be facing the conjunction of several significant conflicts in the area, in addition to the one i have already mentioned, which cries for resolution and which will never be resolved without american involvement. there is some conflict with iran. if that should take place, it is almost inevitable that our current difficulties in afghanistan will get greater, that iraq will become more unstable and that these unstable conditions would merge and intensify the ongoing difficulties in syria. would it have a situation in which we confront a series of interacting crises in the region. that emphasizes the need for a broadly conceived and energetically undertaken american strategy in which among the key players with whom we have to be engaged, in addition to the american-israeli connection is america egypt, america turkey, america saudi arabia.
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>> when you endorse what mrs. sababa said about patients and space, who does our political system really ever have patience? can it allow space? you have the ngo crisis, which on the big scale of things does not seem to be a huge crisis, although it is important for those involved. and you have people calling for cutting off economic aid to egypt. you have the muslim brotherhood doing well in elections and that made a lot of people uncomfortable. what does it take to have that patience? >> we had better have that patience, first of all. if we do not have it, we will be faced with other things which will not be very comfortable for us.
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i have mentioned some of them. so we have to be patient, but we have to have a vision for the region. i am afraid we no longer have a strategic vision for the region, and worse, we are gradually being pushed out of the region. or maybe we are drifting out of the region. i remember when i went into the u.s. government, we had good relations with the four most important countries in the region. iran, saudi arabia, egypt and turkey. look at those for today. one is still pretty good, they are having some tensions. one is terribly bad. one involves some disappointment, and one involves a great deal of uncertainty. you can all make the connections as to which one is which. it is not very promising picture. >> i want to come back to the strategic picture later, but i
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want to stay with egypt first. i want to go to mr. hadley. there is really a different set of choices for american policy in general and a place like egypt. you were part of the administration that advocated democracy after the iraq war and highlighted it and made it a priority in talking to the egyptian government and other governments in the arab world. until the arab awakening, not much change in the arab world. i always wondered whether in some ways, america is the best agent to create change, and whether in fact we are capable of doing it. thinking then and now about the role of the military and intelligence, wearing beige in a war in iran. we have military forces in the gulf. we have the arab-israeli issue that is essential in terms of national interest.
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every time would push in one direction, we still have to consolidate all these relationships with the very institutions that work anchoring the regime that was not democratic. is that something that is inherent in american foreign policy? how did you manage it when you were in the white house, and with a set of choices we now face, do they correspond or parallel in some ways? >> the point is, what is happening strategically in this region is in transition. it is in transition from authoritarian to a democratic and freer society. some societies are going through that transition post revolution. hopefully some of them will go up through that transition without a revolution in terms of some of the monarchies and the like. and america impose it militarily?
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no, of course not. can we impose it on other countries? no. freedom and democracy is always going to reflect the particular cultural and historical character of the society. what we can do is make it clear that we stand on the side of those who won greater freedom and democracy and who want to take control of the future of their country. we were in the middle east -- that was a difficult role for us because for decades, we were perceived, rightly, as being on the side and supporting authoritarian regimes, the very regimes that people in the name of freedom are rising up against. and it makes us an odd messenger for freedom and democracy, but it is what we have historically stood for as a country for 200 years. every war we have ever fought has been in the name of freedom and democracy. notwithstanding that history,
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something that president bush talked about as a historical mistake, we have been on the side of freedom and democracy, and i think it still matters. i talked to a couple of people who were part of the tunisian revolution and they told a very interesting story. they said over revolution was stalled because the middle class was on the sidelines. they would not join in the demonstration. many said it all changed with wikileaks. i am not a great fan of wikileaks, so i was a little taken aback. they said wikileaks lead to a whole series of cable from the american ambassador in tunis that made it clear that the americans viewed him as an aging autocrat, just like we did. then it became ok for the middle class to shift, to join the people in the streets, and the revolution was over in days. my point is by stanford freedman
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democracy and standing back and let people fight and win their own freedom, because at the end of the day, they have to, we can nonetheless encourage that process and help empower it. that is cut out and we need to do. >> i went to tunis right after the revolution. wikileaks actually did a service to the state department. the state department comes across as knowing more than people assume. the americans were not lying to themselves most of the time, about the people they are dealing with, and what more positive than negative, in my opinion. i want to put food on the spot on the current situation. related primarily to the role of the military, i was talking about the choices we faced when
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you were in the white house, advocating democracy, having to stick to things that were essential. when you look at what is happening now, obviously the muslim brotherhood did very well in the parliamentary elections. we don't know who will be the next president of egypt, but i would submit to you that it will probably be the candidate that is backed by the muslim brotherhood, even if it is not one of them. those are uncomfortable things for americans to hear, even if they are elected democratically. on the other hand, you have the military which is seeming to want to exert itself and maintain power. when you look at what they are doing, they are essential because we cooperate with them on strategic issues day by day. you see what happened just yesterday in brokering a ceasefire between the palestinians and israeli, and that could have gotten out of control. it is mostly the military
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institution that has that close relationship. that's tough. those are tough choices for america to do, all the one hand, embraced, the existing petitions which are comparable working with. on the other hand, let go and allow results we don't like to take place. how do we deal with it? >> part of that is the patience and space that mrs. sadat talked about. there is a lot of apprehension about what is happening in places like egypt. she was sane when we are talking before, there are some positive things. other than the first days of this revolution, where unfortunately some real courageous people died, largely at the hands of the military, this has been largely peaceful revolution. secondly, they did conduct a free and fair election for the parliament, the first really free and fair election probably
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in a millennia in that country. that is an important thing to say. yes, the muslim brotherhood won more votes than any other party. is that any surprise? president mubarak had a short-sighted policy of consciously oppressing in the centrist, democratic, secular parties. he made war on them all and created a situation where it was either the mubarak party or it was the brotherhood, which was the only vehicle for expressing dissent. it is not a surprise to say it emerged as a champion of the revolution even though it was made by a lot of the younger men and women in the streets. there is a lot to be said for this revolution, for what it has done. i think we have to understand that if because the party has
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muslim or islamic in its name, you are not going to do with it, and we are going to take ourselves out of the game in most of these middle eastern countries. the issue is, can we work with these parties and can we encourage them to be what is the most important thing, which is, can we encourage them to be pluralistic in inclusive parties that are committed over the long term to democracy? i think that is the challenge. i was on a panel about three weeks ago and heard something very interesting. the challenge in the middle east is that neither in political islam or in arab nationalism was there a tradition of pluralism. that is really what is missing and what needs to be built. hadley stephen hadley missing and that is what needs to be built. that is what we need to help these countries make these transitions.
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we need to try to help them with pluralism and inclusiveness, because that is the way you can be stable over the long term. >> with all the challenges, egypt has gone well in the sense that it has not been as violent as many of the others. it has only been a year, so let me move to a country where there is a lot of violence -- syria. i know when you look at the arab awakening, they went remarkably well. they inspired a lot of americans. polls found that americans viewed a positive picture of
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getting over the 9-11 paradigm, and now we are going into a phase in some countries where there is a lot of violence. syria is very tragic, yet it is very hard to know what to do for american foreign policy. we have not been able to get the security council to act effectively. there is death end killing every day, and we do not seem to know what to do. i know you support and reluctantly the intervention in libya, as did i. why is syria different from libya? >> syria is not libya.
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[laughter] it is as basic as that. assad is not gaddafi. there was military opposition out of high-level talks with gaddafi. the regime was not fully institutional. it was a highly personalized regime. special arrangements with particular tribes contributed, and once those broke down. things started to break down. it was easily accessible. all of these differences underline a greater complex of
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-- complexity of the syrian problem and what can be done on the outside. particularly by really out of the region parties. i do not favor an american military initiative in syria i don't think that is right now. it is very clear as to how that could unfold. the notion of undertaking air strikes against a regime that is not dependent on air power is not going to be very effective and there is a real risk that if america became more involved a conflict could assume anti-american resistance, even more generally in terms of islamic reception of america,
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and we have been involved in the war with iraq not too long ago, and i was against that war. we have had to be involved in a war with iraq not such a long time ago. we have had had to be involved in afghanistan, but we have been involved for too long and with overly ambitious objectives with consequences we are beginning to see surfacing, and i would not want to see added to that list another conflict in which america plays a preeminent role and relies on the military for its solution, because the general context of a decline of american influence in the middle east would further aggravate the trend, so what do i favor? i favor something you may view as a basin of responsibility, but i do not think that. it is taking a stand but a stand which more realistically addresses the problems of the region.
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syria is bordered by turkey and saudi arabia. they have resources, economic and financial. they have military resources. i would favor taking a clear position with the turks and saudis that if they decide on a course of action they think is needed for revolving this. problem, and particularly if the arab community is in agreement, if they decide to let the issue fester, that is a cruel decision, but i think we do not have much choice. a conflict in some regards is
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erratic. -- sporadic. it is not comprehensive. it is not a conflict which has visible united leadership. a clear platform. i think at this stage, america plunging ahead with military action by air or with some other notion of how to resolve this problem by force, i think will be counterproductive and probably even regionally perhaps destabilizing. >> your thoughts? >> i think i agree on the description of the problem. i think, i emphasize a couple of other factors that lead me to maybe a little different prescription. the narrative you want out of this and that the syrian people want is that the syrian people threw out to dictator and freed themselves.
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the narrative that you don't want is that the western powers came in and overthrew another arab leader. that is not the right narrative. one of the problems is the longer this goes, the more militarize it becomes, less likely it is to get a democratic outcome, because the future will be dictated not by who has the most votes but baidu has the most guns. third, i worry that the sectarianism is beginning to show itself in the conflict, and my worry is this quickly becomes sunnis versus shias, and i do not think that bodes well for what we need, which is a democratic outcome in which all groups can view themselves as part of a new syria.
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i have talked about doing two things. give one, we have got to help the. national congress -- the syrian national congress. we have got to help the opposition form into a unified political group second send a message there is a role for them in of post and-assad syria. the only reason he is still there is because the military supports him, and the business class supports him, and people are worried about what life would be like under a sunni-led government.
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these groups need to be convinced to turn their back on assad, so there is a lot of political work to be done, and my instinct is to say to try to honor them. these are people, the courage of the syrian people, they kept us up for over 11 months, they go out and demonstrate on fridays leaving the mosque knowing that on any friday several dozen of them would be killed. this is enormous courage. and the moral claim to honor them, i think, is becoming strong, but we have to honor it in a smart way that does not encourage sectarianism that hopefully can build a political base for a cross sectarian solution, but it is very, very difficult. >> let me ask you a question
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here. how do you arm them? they are all in turkey. you cannot do it without the turks. the only way we can do it is if the turks are prepared to take the lead, but the saudis can pay for it. >> i agree with that, and i think turkey is key and they are not -- i think they need to be our partner on this issue. >> they cannot be alone. >> it is very interesting. turkey's role over the last six months has changed dramatically. they are, after all, allowing thousands of refugees and the free syrian army to be in their territory. so i think that is exactly right. it has to be a regional approach.
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we need to be talking not only to the saudis and the turks but also with the iraqis, who have real interest in how this turns out, and it does not become a sectarian struggle, so we need to do this in conjunction with the neighbors and in a smart way with an agreement this is not going to be sunni versus shia. this is going to be helping the syrian people, all the syrian people try to throw off a tyrant and establish a different kind of syria. >> may i ask a question about russia? i think we're talking about regional. clearly one of the big failures was the inability to get a security council resolution on syria. russia has played an important role in supporting the regime. libya, we had a resolution.
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the russians came in reluctantly on that, and i am wondering whether arming may not lead to arming on the other side. we were talking about iran arming syria. what about russia? is russia -- they seem to be working now directly with the arab league. they have reached an agreement with arab states. is there room for us to work with russia on syria? >> you have come to another point, which is will russia on the other side. my guess is that they will only do so if their judgment was -- a real showdown of force -- if they are not sure or think he will lose, they will not. i don't know what the judgment
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is, but my guess is they are not convinced he will lose, and that raises a further question. mainly it is not only the russians. the chinese are supporting them. we have to be careful not to manage or mismanage this issue by thrusting ourselves too far ahead to, crig create in effect an opposition to us that not only proved surprisingly effective within syria but becomes part of a larger context. that would be a major reversal of the changes of the last few decades. >> i am not foolish enough to talk a russia policy. [laughter] i will say this. i think he is right about russia and their calculus. i think also now that putin has won his election, in quotes, i
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think there may be more freedom and more scope on syrian policy. secondly, why we should work are russia and china and the u.n., we should not be bound by the u.n. the things we are talking about with turkey and iraq you can do without a u.n. resolution, and we should, and if we have a policy that is showing some success, i think the russians will come along, and once the russians come along, i think the chinese will come along, because on this issue, i don't think the chinese want to be isolated, so i think we can accommodate it in a way that we have talked about. >> i am going to move to the iran issue. the hot issue of the day. one last question about syria, not because of syria, but because everybody is much more moved by humanitarian disasters
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than we have been in the past. it may be a function of the information revolution. assad did a lot of killing in 1982, and we only learned about the scope of it afterwards. it was not a burning issue at that time. this is leading to certain kinds of the expectations on a scale we have not seen before, and i wondered, the arab awakening is a function of the revolution in a sense, whether or not this is also creating expectations of international behavior and that international politics have not changed enough to accommodate them, that the choices we have are more painful than usual.
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maybe that is an imaginary picture i am a painting. you have had many tough choices, but is there a sense there is this gap between public expectation globally and the failure of international institutions to deal with them? the u.n. obviously but also national -- >> it is very interesting. some of you probably saw it. there was a video put out on facebook about a week ago about this guy, kony, and the lord's resistance army, which is a gruesome group in the congo and other areas with child soldiers. it had millionors hits in the first few hours. it is the depoost bring the
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attention of the world and government to humanitarian crisis is enormous. pral prompt government reaction. it will make the national security adviser's job a lot harder, but on balance i think it is positive. i think you have seen social media is enormously and powering and democratic in a sense that people with network and have a voice. it can bring down authoritytarian structures. but it has become a tool. what we saw in egypt is the tool by itself is not sufficient to organize people in ways that can systematically replace the structures that have been brought down, and that is both the promise of social media but the limitations of the social media.
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but the limitations of the social media. at the end of today, it was about organization, and that is what the moslem brotherhood had, and what's the the kids do not yet have. hopefully they will have but do not yet have. >> i am going to move to the iran issue. obviously, you know, there is talk of war in the air and a lot of people are worried, some see even similarities with the iraq war. we had just a little over a week ago, president obama met with israel's prime minister netanyahu, who seemed to allude of israel is contemplating a unilateral strike on iran's nuclear facilities and that they think would set its program back. the u.s. has made it clear that
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it doesn't really want to see that happen. that the u.s. believes diplomacy must be given a chance. i want to ask you questions about that but i want to report to you a poll that we just released simultaneously with this event. we just released this here in the u.s., which is about american attitudes toward the iran nuclear regime but also the prospect of israel striking iran. we found only 19% of israelis supported an israeli strike on iran without american support. most of them were pessimistic about the consequences.
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that coincide with a poll from a few days ago. american opinion seems to be similar to israeli opinion. one quarter of the american public supports a strike. when you ask what should the u.s. do, only about a quarter stay u.s. should intervene militarily. most do not want to see the u.s. intervene militarily. half within the want the u.s. to remain neutral on this issue. when you ask about the prospects of what might happen if iran is struck militarily, they believe it would not delay them by more than one to five years and they believe that only a minority believe it would actually hurt the government and they believe that the conflict would last months or years, not day or
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weeks. it is almost parallel to the findings in israel. nine out of 10 americans think around will ultimately end up with nuclear-weapons, and the apostle is 62% think it around -- think if iran obtains nuclear weapons it will use it against israel, which is paradoxical. can the u.s. avoid being drawn in? while the american public does not want the u.s. to intervene, a slight majority thinks the u.s. will intervene at any way, so there is a difference between what they describe and what they expect american behavior to be, at least diplomatically, so how much leverage do we have on
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israel in terms of this waiting it from attacking iran -- in terms of dissuading it from attacking iran? what are our options here, doctor? >> we have tremendous power. the question is if we would be prepared to apply it. israel is a friend of the united states. we have a moral obligation towards israel in view of what happened in world war ii, and that is a moral imperative, but we cannot dismiss that. but at the same time, it is also a fact we are a principal source of israel's military capability, and we are a significant source of financial support.
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we talked about egypt and whether we should put financial pressure on egypt. because of some things that were being done which we didn't like. i think it is legitimate to trays same question regarding israel. but it is highly unlikely they will apply maximum pressure. the israelis have indicated they will not give advance warning if they decide to strike. i everyone sties word "if." they may not have decided to undertake a strike. we will not be in a sense involved in their decision. nonetheless, if they do strike, the fact is that first, the iranians really do not have the cape to believe the retaliate
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against israel. secondly, if they do strike, they may very well go over iraq, which is still our responsibility in terms of air space. that will make us defacto -- because the iranians have not respond effectively, but they will view of of having -- view us as having given the green light, it is likely they will respond. they could make the decision in western afghanistan increasingly difficult to us and complicated strategy. and complicate the entire strategy. secondly, they can destabilize iraq relatively quickly. they can already -- affect price of oil. they could attempt to strike at
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some saudi oil fields or interfere with the shipment of energy through the strait of formuse. there is a dramatic increase in the cost of insurance, and that is why americans are paying $4 a gallon. they will be paying $5 or $6 or $7 a gallon because of the israeli strike. so the fact is -- we will be drawn in if they do and the consequences will be adverse for us so that makes it all the more important that president obama persists on the course which i think he has embarked, which is to try to dissuade the israelis from doing anything unilaterally and to give what has been
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described as give peace a chance. serious negotiations are iran. -- with iran. what does that mean? they mean you do not give the iranians the choice of humiliating capitulation or social economic strangulation. that is to say, for example, they are deprived of the rights of a nuclear program, or because they are not accommodating, we shut down the economy, which will have the effect of unifying extremist with nationalists and probably precipitate some reaction militarily, so we have to be very deliberate in our conduct and try to use the alliances that we have plus
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china and russia and others to create a situation in which the peace process is given a chance, and my last point is, and we have time to do it. because from the highest authority, it has been stated by our president, by our military intelligence leaders and in effect confirmed by people who are really following this that ack acquisition of -- acquisition of nuclear weapons by iran is years away. the israelis have predicted since 1994 every single year the next year iran will have a especially in. have a nuclear weapon. since 1994. it is now 2012. >> any thoughts on the same issue? >> do we have 10-15 minutes? no. what he has outlined is both
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under the bush administration and the obama administration, we have said look, the place where we do not want to be is where the only two choices are to accept an iran with a clear path to a nuclear weapon or have to use conventional military options. we could have a debate, but both have negative consequences, so where are we? we are not in a good place. can we live with iran? this is an issue between the united states and israel. president obama said the red line is iran with a nuclear weapon. i'm pretty sure the israelis think none of that is too late. by the time you have a nuclear weapon, the damage is done. it is iran with a nuclear capability or as i say, a clear path to a nuclear weapon and it
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is clear the united states cannot prevent it. there are a lot of -- once iran achieves that point, its sense of empowerment -- other countries wanting to have their own route to a nuclear weapon, a risk of nuclear capability would be provided to terrorist groups. it is not a happy notion that you can deter by threatening retaliation against iran, i think is wrong. secondly, i am pessimistic on negotiations. not that we should not try them. but this has always been now for 10 years, it is about the enrichment program. the international community said to iran, you can have a truly peaceful nuclear program. we will build it for you, but
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because of the suspicions we have, even though you have a right to a program, we cannot trust you with it because we do not believe that you have given up nuclear weapons. we believe actually that you are trying to get them. the problem is this has always been about whether iran can have an enrichment facility. i do not think this regime can give them up. they are so into it. maybe i am wrong. i think we ought to put as much pressure on the regime as we can going into the negotiations. i think it is because of the pressure they have agreed to restart negotiations and maybe if the regime really feels that its survival is at stake, maybe they will accept a deal. i don't know. we ought to try it.
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i would offer the two other things a we should think about. one is, as we put that pressure in the international -- what the obama administration has done quite effectively, as we put pressure on the regime, what are the iranian people thinking as they see mubarak go down, gaddafi go down, hopefully assad goes down. what are they thinking when they go into elections? will the iranian people decide they are entitled to something better. and try to rise up again as they did in 2009? that's something to watch. finally, the last thing i would say, is if we need to buy time, and i've got to be, you know,
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there is a speck turn of things between diplomacy and near diplomacy between military and conventional military action. there are things that can be done to set our programs and disabled programs, and i think the administration is putting all their effort into those kinds of activities so if we need to do it we can set back the program in a way that is not attributable to the united states and avoid some of the consequences outlined if you go into overly expensive military activity. we need options in that space to allow us to buy time. people say, and my friend bob gates said, well, you know, those kinds of things might buy you two or three years. one of the pilots who flew in
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iraq freetown's that the pilots got together and had two questions. one is if it was a two-way -- a one-way mission and the leadership said it may be a one-way mission. and then how long will this set back the iraqi nuclear program? they said a couple of years. their reaction was fine. we'll take it. one thing led to another, and saddam hussein actually never got a nuclear weapon. i think buying time in this process may be the best we can do and that's what we ought to be working towards. >> just a thought. only two more questions. a couple more questions before
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we get some questions from the audience. there are microphones on the aisles and you can pull up there if you would like to ask a question. on the iran issue, i would like to comment. when i look at iran, obviously, its power is probably exaggerated militarily. it is probably limited. there is talk of having missiles that can hit israel, and hezbollah said it is not automatic, but when i watched over the past few days, which, just a few very rudimentary rockets really cheaply made and very primive in some ways, are fired from gaza after israel assassinated an islamic jihad
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leader in gaza. paralyzed israel for several days. just a few rockets being fired every day paralyzed this country for, you know, a week with people sleeping underground. a million people in southern israel. in the five weeks with hezbollah, it paralyzed the economy. maybe it is more than that. the depoost inflict enough uncertainty to make life unbearable. that is something that has to be taken into account. >> i think what has to be taken into account, you can have pretty clear ideas as to what you would be doing and what might be happening in the initial phases if you decide to have a war. you have an absolutely no idea how it is going to end and how
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long it will take, and that is something we cannot lose sight of in talking about this issue. iran could be a threat. it might be a threat. it might not be a threat, but if we take military action, we will create circumstances that will become increasingly unpredictable. it is not going to be action by the international community. the international community is going to be sitting on the sidelines. our friends will be feeling sorry for us. our rivals will be rubbing their hands and benefiting from it, so we have to strategically crossed -- cross this ru binch con. are we prepared to go to war? i'm prepared to say no. the costs are too high. there are other ways of coping with it. for last x number of years, japan and south korea, have been threatsened by north korea,
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which has nuclear weapons, which has tested them and has delivery systems. yet neither japan or south korea is clamoring there be an attack in north korea. why? they have ironclad commitments from the united states that the united states would react. for 30 years we did that with the european states, and we avoided a war with the soviet union. that could have been a very big enterprise. my personal view is that if the negotiations are going to move in a more positive direction, we can issue an ironclad commitment to all of the states in the middle east that first, if they do not proliferate, and two, if they are threatened by iran, which iski
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